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(Jipson Sikhera/TOI, BCCL, Kochi)

Deaths of over 2,500 cattle due to lumpy skin disease in nine districts of Rajasthan have triggered panic across the desert state.

According to a senior official in the animal husbandry department, “While over 2,500 cattle have died due to the viral disease, around 50,000 more have been infected. The viral infection has already spread to nine districts, mostly adjoining Gujarat, which has become the epicentre of the disease.”

The nine districts from which cattle deaths have been reported are Barmer, Jalore, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Pali, Ganganagar, Nagaur, Sirohi and Jaisalmer.

“There is no vaccination available for the disease, which is being treated based on symptoms. The first batch of cases was reported from Jaisalmer in May, where the situation seems to be under control now,” the official said.

A team of scientists and veterinary doctors from the Centre visited Jodhpur and Nagaur on Monday to take stock of the situation. Senior officials confirmed that the team would also visit Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Bikaner, Jalore, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pali and Sirohi.

An alert has been issued in Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur, Rajsamand and the districts adjoining the Gujarat border.

The viral disease spreads through bloodsucking insects, certain species of flies, and contaminated food and water. It causes acute fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, salivation, soft blister-like nodules all over the body, marked reduction in milk yield, and difficulty eating. The mortality rate for the contagion is 1.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, state BJP chief Satish Poonia on Tuesday wrote to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, urging him to take quick steps to check the virus spread.

“The deaths of thousands of cattle heads in the state have worried those engaged in animal husbandry. The dairy farmers in the western and northern parts of the state are facing a threat to their livelihood as scores of cattle heads are dying due to infectious skin diseases.

“I request you to take this issue seriously. I also request you to fill the vacant posts in the veterinary hospitals,” Poonia wrote.

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The above article has been published from a wire agency with minimal modifications to the headline and text.

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